Candidate Profile: Deb Crossley, Newton Ward 5 City Council
NEWTON, MA – Deb Crossley is running for re-election against incumbent Andreae Downs and Rena Getz for Ward 5 general councilor. There are 20 people vying for the 16 general councilor seats on Newton City Council in the municipal election. of November 2, as well as contested races for the district councilor, the mayor and the school committee.
Newton Patch has asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will post candidate profiles this week.
Crossley has been an architect in a private home office since 1986. She has a bachelor’s degree, one in environmental design and the other in architecture.
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My husband Phil and I came here in 1985, were active parents raising our children in Newton Public Schools. His daughter Nikki (37) is a dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, his son James (32) is a chef looking for a master’s degree in education and teaches chemistry to students at NSHS!
Does anyone in your family work in politics or in government?
BS Environmental Design (’75), BA Architecture (’83), MA license
Architect, residential / housing, private practice at home since 1986
Previous or current office elected or appointed
Why are you looking for an elective position?
I love our community and want to build on my 12 years of work to improve the way we take care of public places and municipal infrastructure, how we can better meet the needs of the community – especially in a sustainable way and that can accommodate future generations in a diverse and welcoming community.
The most pressing issue facing our (council, district, etc.) is _______, and that’s what I intend to do about it.
There is not ONE problem – a lot of things are interconnected. you have to walk and chew gum ….
3 KEY ISSUES
Sadly, we need to stay alert as the pandemic evolves and respond with agility to keep Newton’s families and businesses safe in any way we can. We may need more CAP-funded rental aid, more small business grants, and rules to continue eating and hosting outdoor events across town.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Fortunately, ARPA funds allow us to relaunch our capital plans: repair of roads, sidewalks, schools, parks, water systems, a new extension of the children’s room of the library and the center for the elderly … to improve quality, build capacity, and in any case, ensure reliability / resilience in the fight against climate change. We must carefully prioritize and rigorously monitor all projects.
ZONING REDESIGN: This is about laying the groundwork to help ensure a better future,
by RULES which allow and encourage the development we WANT, and which do not allow, or discourage what we DO NOT WANT:
– Securing local economic health: the right balance
– Encourage compact housing that is easily accessible on foot to public transport and village centers
– Control the mass, scale and proportions of the building
– Advance reasonable development standards / controls:
– Reduce on-site parking requirements, especially near public transport
– Increase building performance, solar and EV requirements, storm water controls
– Restrict alterations in the relief, especially in neighborhoods
What are the critical differences between you and other candidates for this position?
This is a 3-way race for two seats. Me and my regular colleague Andreae Downs, have a proven track record as open-minded, caring and collaborative problem solvers. My combined skills in architecture, environmental science and my long curriculum of community activism (Newton Energy Commission, Housing Partnership, League of women Voters (chair), Comprehensive Plan Committee (adopted in 2007) continue to inform my directing and advancing efforts to rebuild / improve schools, fire stations, streets, sidewalks, parks and clean energy (solar) facilities, and also, help strengthen our rules of territory Development.
If you are a challenger, how has the current board or incumbent failed the community (or district or constituency)
na – BUT – This is a 3 for 2 seat race, and I strongly support my colleague Andreae Downs. Andreae, as chair of the public safety and transport committee, not only brings her passion for improving multimodal transport infrastructure, but also led the efforts with our new police chief to bring about reforms, including more training and programs needed to better deal with sensitive situations and restore trust between our police department and the community.
How do you think the local authorities reacted to the coronavirus? What if something would you have done differently?
We have all been affected by the pandemic; we have suffered from the lack of scientific leadership from top to bottom. As local leaders, we struggled to do the right thing. The mayor instantly created a citizen-run COVID relief fund to accept private donations to help families in distress. Despite the revenue losses (hotels, tax on meals, parking and rental receipts – all dried up), the Council spent several rounds of fundraising: CPC funds on two occasions to provide rental and rental assistance. mortgage, money for chrome books to facilitate distance learning (difficult anyway) and around 5 million to improve ventilation in school and municipal buildings as quickly as possible. The mayor has been criticized for not acting fast enough to get the children back to school. I also heard from parents wanting their children back because they wouldn’t be able to work otherwise – like I did from parents terrified of putting their children back to school, there was some assurance of safety. I think the mayor’s communication on the subject was exceptional, and her careful and unruffled management of the city budget allowed us to give funds where needed and to be ready to invest again this year. For my part, I will not throw stones.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
– Excellent public schools (facilities and programs)
– Improved public transportation and walking options
– Judicious environmental management (care and maintenance !!)
– Confirmed infrastructure investments (including more community spaces, parks, fields …)
– Stable and prosperous village economies (good combination of housing-shops-offices-public open space)
– More diverse and affordable housing options for a wider range of income
– A city truly accessible to all
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as proof that you can handle this job?
As the former president of public facilities, I have led successful projects both to rebuild the city’s infrastructure and strengthen municipal ordinances:
– launched the strategic plan to rehabilitate the water, sewer and storm water systems which show glaring leaks; – launched a directed effort to achieve “green community” status for Newton – who both earn $ 8 million and $ 2 million respectively, in state grants, accessible housing options, – coordinated adoption of standards of sustainable construction for municipal buildings, – Pushed to raise the bar of high performance construction standards on new development petitions, …
The best advice ever shared with me was:
Listen three times, speak once
What would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I think we are privileged and lucky to live in a place like Newton. Even today, with the C19, the climate disasters wreaking havoc across our country and the world, and some politicians seemingly oblivious to these realities, Newton – and much of New England, stand out as havens of relative safety, sanity and safety. We still have the capacity and the strength, while being aware of these global issues, to continue to improve our community and to plan wisely for the future. I’m all for – sleeves rolled up – to continue our necessary work to repair, modernize, restore, rebuild – and maintain – to keep people’s places fit, and working hard to bring our community to consensus so that we may plan wisely and strategically for a better future for all.